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  • William Maley
    William Maley

    New Proposal by EPA and NHTSA Reduces Fuel Economy Targets, Remove California's Ability To Set Standards

      Prepare yourselves, there are some mental gymnastics involved 


    As expected, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have unveiled a proposal that will suspend increases in fuel economy put forth by the Obama administration, and take away California's ability regulate vehicle emissions.

    The new proposal is called the "Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient (SAFE) Vehicles Rule." Under the new proposal, the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) would be capped at the 2020 level of 37 mpg through 2025. Under the rules that were created during the Obama administration, automakers would need to have a fleet average of 54 mpg in 2026. The proposal would also remove Calfornia's ability to set their own emissions state based on a 1975 federal law that prohibits states from setting their own greenhouse gas limits. It needs to be noted that two federal judges have rejected this argument when it was brought to court. 

    "EPA is proposing to withdraw the waiver granted to California in 2013 for the GHG [Greenhouse Gas] and ZEV [Zero Emissions Vehicles] requirements of its Advanced Clean Cars program," the proposal states.

    "In short, the agencies propose to maintain one national standard -- a standard that is set exclusively by the Federal government."

    What are the benefits to this new proposal? The one that has been getting the most headlines is reduced fatalities and crashes. If you're scratching your head as to how this makes sense, here is what the proposal argues. 

    1. People who buy fuel-efficient vehicle will drive more, increasing the odds that they will get into a crash.
    2. Fuel-efficient vehicles will be more expensive, thus slowing down the rate people buy new cars with advanced safety features.
    3. Fuel-efficient vehicles tend to be lighter, thus are less capable of withstanding a crash.

    The proposal claims that this will prevent 12,700 fatalities and many more injuries on American roads.

    There has been a lot of disagreement on this part, especially on the weight part. While it is true that a heavier vehicle won't sustain as much damage as lighter vehicle, experts have realized that the size of vehicle is more important to overall safety. Plus, the New York Times points out this point only accounts for one percent of the estimated fatalities in the proposal.

    Other benefits include reduced costs for new vehicles - the proposal says the stricter emission rules add about an average of $2,430 to the price of new vehicles.

    “We think we can have a win-win, if we lock in at 2020 levels. We’re not imposing undue costs on manufacturers. We’re not imposing undue costs on consumers who want affordable vehicles. And therefore we think as a result of these standards we will be able to have our cake and eat it too,” said Bill Wehrum, the assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation on a call today.

    Reactions to this are very mixed.

    “I applaud the Trump administration for proposing new standards for cars and trucks. Unless the Obama administration’s punishing standards are changed, consumer choice will be limited and the cost of vehicles will skyrocket,” said Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

    "Automakers support continued improvements in fuel economy and flexibilities that incentivize advanced technologies while balancing priorities like affordability, safety, jobs, and the environment," said the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and and the Association of Global Automakers in a statement.

    "The administration's effort to roll back these standards is a denial of basic science and a denial of American automakers' engineering capabilities and ingenuity," said John M. DeCicco, research professor at the University of Michigan Energy Institute.

    "This was a predictable move, as the current administration has been working hard to dismantle Obama-era regulations across the board. And while there's little demand today for smaller, more-efficient or electrified vehicles in the U.S., as gas prices remain low, these lower fuel economy targets proposed by the administration will likely spark an unwanted war between Washington and the California Air Resources Board. While few stakeholders were happy with the tough targets in the current regulations, unraveling those standards will likely be even more painful," said Michelle Krebs, executive analyst at Autotrader.

    Unsurprisingly, California is not pleased by this new proposal. The state along with 18 others and the District of Columbia have announced they would challenge the proposal in court.

    “The Trump Administration has launched a brazen attack, no matter how it is cloaked, on our nation’s Clean Car Standards,” said Xavier Becerra, California’s attorney general.

    California “will use every legal tool at its disposal to defend today’s national standards and reaffirm the facts and science behind them.”

    California Governor Jerry Brown was more blunt in his reaction to this,

    "California will fight this stupidity in every conceivable way possible.”

    A legal fight could mean a lot of headaches for automakers as it might result in two different emission standards they would have to meet. 

    "With today's release of the Administration's proposals, it's time for substantive negotiations to begin. We urge California and the federal government to find a common sense solution that sets continued increases in vehicle efficiency standards while also meeting the needs of America's drivers," said the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and and the Association of Global Automakers.

    The next step is giving the public 60 days to comment on this proposal.

    Source: Bloomberg, New York Times, (2), Reuters, EPA


    U.S. EPA and DOT Propose Fuel Economy Standards for MY 2021-2026 Vehicles

    WASHINGTON  — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released a notice of proposed rulemaking, the Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient (SAFE) Vehicles Rule for Model Years 2021-2026 Passenger Cars and Light Trucks (SAFE Vehicles Rule), to correct the national automobile fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions standards to give the American people greater access to safer, more affordable vehicles that are cleaner for the environment.

    The SAFE Vehicles Rule is the next generation of the Congressionally mandated Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) and Light-Duty Vehicle Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards. This Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) is the first formal step in setting the 2021-2026 Model Year (MY) standards that must be achieved by each automaker for its car and light-duty truck fleet.

    In today’s proposal, EPA and NHTSA are seeking public comment on a wide range of regulatory options, including a preferred alternative that locks in MY 2020 standards through 2026, providing a much-needed time-out from further, costly increases. The agencies’ preferred alternative reflects a balance of safety, economics, technology, fuel conservation, and pollution reduction. It is anticipated to prevent thousands of on-road fatalities and injuries as compared to the standards set forth in the 2012 final rule. The joint proposal initiates a process to establish a new 50-state fuel economy and tailpipe carbon dioxide emissions standard for passenger cars and light trucks covering MY 2021 through 2026.

    “We are delivering on President Trump’s promise to the American public that his administration would address and fix the current fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions standards,” said EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Our proposal aims to strike the right regulatory balance based on the most recent information and create a 50-state solution that will enable more Americans to afford newer, safer vehicles that pollute less. More realistic standards can save lives while continuing to improve the environment. We value the public’s input as we engage in this process in an open, transparent manner.”

    “There are compelling reasons for a new rulemaking on fuel economy standards for 2021-2026,” said Secretary Elaine L. Chao. “More realistic standards will promote a healthy economy by bringing newer, safer, cleaner and more fuel-efficient vehicles to U.S. roads and we look forward to receiving input from the public.”

    The current standards have been a factor in the rising cost of new automobiles to an average of $35,000 or more—out of reach for many American families. Indeed, compared to the preferred alternative in the proposal, keeping in place the standards finalized in 2012 would add $2,340 to the cost of owning a new car, and impose more than $500 billion in societal costs on the U.S. economy over the next 50 years.

    Additionally, a 2018 government study by NHTSA shows new model year vehicles are safer, resulting in fewer deaths and injuries when involved in accidents, as compared to older models. Therefore, the Administration is focused on correcting the current standards that restrict the American people from being able to afford newer vehicles with more advanced safety features, better fuel economy, and associated environmental benefits.

    On April 2, 2018, EPA issued the Mid-Term Evaluation Final Determination which found that the MY 2022-2025 GHG standards are not appropriate and should be revised. For more than a year, the agencies worked together to extensively analyze current automotive and fuel technologies, reviewed economic conditions and projections, and consulted with other federal agency partners to ensure the most reliable and accurate analysis possible.

    EPA and NHTSA are seeking public feedback to ensure that all potential impacts concerning today’s proposal are fully considered and hope to issue a final rule this winter.

    The public will have 60 days to provide feedback once published at the Federal Register

    Edited by William Maley




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    If this does go through, which I doubt it will from previous court rulings, what is to stop California from imposing a 20% sales tax on all gas powered cars and giving EV’s a $5,000 credit with money from the “California Excellence Fund” assuming they get that thing going.  They could crush gas car sales and those same car companies resisting EV’s will be screwed. 

    I think sticking the current 2025 Target but not imposing fines until 2030 would be a more reasonable approach and maybe California will accept that.

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    I am into state's rights, but California has shaped FE and emissions standards too much.  It will be interesting to see what sticks here.

    Federal standards that are predictable and achievable are good.  The 54mpg was totally virtue signalling and forcing something that was not going to happen.

    At the same time, this industry is global and standards for these things need to 'consider' the global arena.

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    While I would like to see CAFE replaced by appropriate taxes, California emissions should be left alone.  For nearly 50 years, CA has had a massive smog problem that regulations have had some effect of reducing.  (Just ask anyone from Los Angeles what it was like to breathe the local air in 1960 or 1970 compared to today.)  CA standards may seem too high for some, but both China and the EU are also marching towards stricter emissions standards AND a push for more electric vehicles to replace the ICE vehicles currently on the road.  Automakers will comply with global emissions standards whether the current administration likes it or not because it is good for business, not just good for the environment.

    This new proposal by the current EPA will probably get stuffed by federal courts and rendered inoperative within three years.  Short of repealing CAFE outright, there will be no movement on emissions as of this time.

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    @regfootball @riviera74 I like both of your posts, I think that now is the perfect time for the Auto Industry along with California to come together and propose a new standard that they agree on protecting state rights and leading the fed gov to simplify with a new standard that California and the Auto industry can live with.

    I truly believe that what is best for both clean air, people and business is a single standard to build to that can be done world wide.

    China and the EU have learned the hard way due to acid rain and the environmental damage caused by our love of ICE auto's. Time to retire the 100+ year auto and move into the next phase of Auto engineering that will bring new and innovative products.

    We all know it will take probably 50 years to remove ICE auto's from the roads but that should not stop us from moving forward. Having a ton of relatives in the greater LA area, I know only too well what it was like visiting them every summer and just shaking my head at the smog, and they wondered why my parents moved in the mid 60's to Washington state getting away from the concrete jungle of LA.

    Time for a better way to move around. Hybrids, EV's, and high speed electric trains, tubes, etc. We have got to do things better, smarter and move society forward.

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    15 hours ago, riviera74 said:

    but both China and the EU are also marching towards stricter emissions standards

    Stricter than ours or stricter than what they currently have? 

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    15 hours ago, riviera74 said:

     CA standards may seem too high for some, but both China and the EU are also marching towards stricter emissions standards

     

    4 minutes ago, ccap41 said:

    Stricter than ours or stricter than what they currently have? 

    EU and China are both heading towards stricter standards than the US. As such like Drew pointed out, we will fall farther behind and give up our leadership position by reducing emissions standards from auto's to commercial business emissions.

    We are already loosing the Green race to China and the EU, how much more is America willing to accept in falling behind the world by trying to recapture the golden age of Empire building that is the past, not the future.

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    ocnblu

    Posted (edited)

    The Obama standards are pie-in-the-sky for so many reasons.  You cannot FORCE people to buy something they DO.NOT.WANT.  When has it ever worked?  It never has.  Something's got to give and it is past due for government to LISTEN and TUNE INTO the real world.

     

    California needs to be dealt with.  It is that simple.  They are so backward from the mainstream and they are out of touch with reality.  CLEARLY.  On so many issues extending far beyond just this important, vast thing.  Brown and Becerra's comments quoted in the article speak volumes about their insolence and only serve to reinforce my stance... they need to STFU and SIT DOWN.  Bunch of spoiled babies.

    Edited by ocnblu
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    18 hours ago, Drew Dowdell said:

    Rolling back the standards means that the US will fall further behind in tech

    Is it really a rollback though?  If the standards were stupid to begin with, isn't it really a breath of fresh air?  A return to basic reality and respect for basic laws of physics? 

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    1 hour ago, ocnblu said:

    Is it really a rollback though?  If the standards were stupid to begin with, isn't it really a breath of fresh air?  A return to basic reality and respect for basic laws of physics? 

    Yes, the rest of the world will advance without us. We are no longer special or essential for global progress. On a larger scale, our economy will suffer for it.

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    ocnblu

    Posted (edited)

    21 hours ago, Drew Dowdell said:

    Yes, the rest of the world will advance without us. We are no longer special or essential for global progress. On a larger scale, our economy will suffer for it.

    How is it "advancing" if it is contrary to the will of the customer?  I don't see it as an advancement, I see it as an imposition and the customer is speaking loudly with his wallet... he's been driven out of the car market because of CAFE and he is buying pickup trucks and large SUVs at a fast clip while "green" cars rot.  You can lead a horse to Kool-Aid, but you cannot make him drink.

    Edited by ocnblu

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    Face it; 54 MPG by '26 is not going to be achievable. It's not a matter of "rolling back" it's not"falling behind", it's simply way too short of a timeline. Eventually, given enough time, R&D and the very gradual movement of consumer preference/education, 54 IS possible (with enough EVs), but the timeline is unrealistic. Look at the world's leading EV manufacturer, Tesla- TEN YEARS of car production, and they MAY exceed 100K units in the US this year. Chevy is on track to sell 150K Malibus here, alone.

    Ever since the prius thingie circa '97, we've had at least electrical contribution to personal conveyances. But EV/PHEV still hovers around a mere 2% of all sales. After 20 years. People who think a state can ban IC and force the other (on average) 98% immediately into an electric MEANWHILE torpedo'ing their existing IC vehicle's value into the ground, are being obtuse.

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    balthazar

    Posted (edited)

    On 8/2/2018 at 6:44 PM, smk4565 said:

    ...what is to stop California from imposing a 20% sales tax on all gas powered cars and giving EV’s a $5,000 credit...  They could crush gas car sales and those same car companies resisting EV’s will be screwed.

    According to green car reports in Aug '17, CA is ranked 48th in public chargers vs. their EV pool. You'd think with their pushing they'd be in the top 5- so they have a LONG way to go in that fundamental infrastructure step. Ignoring it and implementing an IC ban is a reciepe for mass calamity.

    Edited by balthazar
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    balthazar

    Posted (edited)

    Why put any brakes on forward progress? Why doesn't CA:
    1. ban all gas & diesel vehicles, not only new sales but existing ownership, effectively Jan 1 2019
    2. mandate ONLY full EV vehicles
    3. invoke a 100 MPG standard anyway
    4. build EV charging stations, 1 per square mile minimum, as the #1 infrastructure priority, to be completed by Jan 1 2020
    5. establish a tax-funded general fund to compensate IC vehicle owners for cratered IC vehicle values (about 30M in CA)
    6. establish a tax-funded general fund to cover rush development of over-the-road EV semi trucks in order to maintain the flow of commerce in & out of the state. In the meantime, on-road goods shipments must be hauled by EV-powered vehicles effective immediately... so in a fraction of the load size per vehicle.
     

    Also : https://www.sfchronicle.com/business/article/California-s-electricity-grid-is-changing-fast-12885084.php

     

    Edited by balthazar
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    9 hours ago, ocnblu said:

    How is it "advancing" if it is contrary to the will of the customer?  I don't see it at an advancement, I see it as an imposition and the customer is speaking loudly with his wallet... he's been driven out of the car market because of CAFE and he is buying pickup trucks and large SUVs at a fast clip while "green" cars rot.  You can lead a horse to Kool-Aid, but you cannot make him drink.

    Totally WRONG, People are driven out of the auto purchase ability due to their own instant gratification and enlargement of personal debt living a life style that their income does not support. America is at an all time high of personal debt that is drowning the country and for this reason not CAFE that Americans are not able to to buy auto's like they used to. Blame the Germans who started this whole cheap ass leasing thing and live like your rich on top of the whole auto industry that will allow someone to go upside down on an auto purchase to get into a new auto rather than wait till they pay it off or have saved to buy a new one.

    PERSONAL DEBT with INSTANT GRATIFICATION of spoiled Americans is the reason we are where we are today.

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    ocnblu

    Posted (edited)

    10 hours ago, dfelt said:

    Totally WRONG, People are driven out of the auto purchase ability due to their own instant gratification and enlargement of personal debt living a life style that their income does not support. America is at an all time high of personal debt that is drowning the country and for this reason not CAFE that Americans are not able to to buy auto's like they used to. Blame the Germans who started this whole cheap ass leasing thing and live like your rich on top of the whole auto industry that will allow someone to go upside down on an auto purchase to get into a new auto rather than wait till they pay it off or have saved to buy a new one.

    PERSONAL DEBT with INSTANT GRATIFICATION of spoiled Americans is the reason we are where we are today.

    ? "Where we are today" with WHAT, exactly?  What sort of tangent is this?  Your opinions should be taken out of the debate on all things electric, CAFE and whatnot.  You drive a SUBURBAN, an ESCALADE and a TRAILBLAZER SS.  And none of them are even PAINTED green.  You love to talk the talk but you don't walk the walk.  You amuse me with your constant prattle about electric this and alternative that, yet you appear in no way committed to your so-called "noble cause".  Come in and speak on green car subjects WHEN YOU OWN ONE if you are going to be boning on them ad nauseam.  ;)

    Edited by ocnblu

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    At the moment, there aren't EVs that I can both afford and have a desire to own. I'd really like an XC90 PHEV or CT6 PHEV, but until you write me a check @ocnblu, I'll have to make due with my regular internal combustion cars. 

    And that highlights the current problem with PHEVs.  With few exceptions (Fusion Energi, Pacifica Hybrid) most are either econobox tiny little things with nothing in the way of creature comfort or full zoot Platinum Executive Signature Autobiography, Excellence top of the line models that few people can afford.

    I liked the Pacifica powertrain so much I actually floated the idea to Albert who promptly shot it down for being a minivan.  If they put that in a FWD crossover and called it the Aspen, they'd have a huge hit on their hands. 

    The choices in PHEVs is still pretty terrible without even considering the powertrain.   Of the ones in the affordable range, only the Fusion could be sold at home.

    5 hours ago, ocnblu said:

    Come in and speak on green car subjects WHEN YOU OWN ONE if you are going to be boning on them ad nauseam.  ;)

    Physician, heal thyself.  Until you've driven them regularly, you have no basis for which to knock on them.  So unless you want that rule applied to you as well...... 

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    ocnblu

    Posted (edited)

    I tend to bone on ICE vehicles.  That's all I've ever owned.  And they keep our borders safe.  :smilewide:

    Fusion Hybrid.  Is there still a Malibu Hybrid?  Or has it fallen by the wayside due to zero sales?  ;)

     

    Edited by ocnblu

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    1 hour ago, ocnblu said:

    I tend to bone on ICE vehicles.  That's all I've ever owned.  And they keep our borders safe.  :smilewide:

    Fusion Hybrid.  Is there still a Malibu Hybrid?  Or has it fallen by the wayside due to zero sales?  ;)

     

    There is no plug-in Malibu hybrid. I mentioned Fusion Energi by name. I would have thought you'd know the difference since you know so much about EVs and PHEVs?

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    11 hours ago, ocnblu said:

    ? "Where we are today" with WHAT, exactly?  What sort of tangent is this?  Your opinions should be taken out of the debate on all things electric, CAFE and whatnot.  You drive a SUBURBAN, an ESCALADE and a TRAILBLAZER SS.  And none of them are even PAINTED green.  You love to talk the talk but you don't walk the walk.  You amuse me with your constant prattle about electric this and alternative that, yet you appear in no way committed to your so-called "noble cause".  Come in and speak on green car subjects WHEN YOU OWN ONE if you are going to be boning on them ad nauseam.  ;)

    Green, Sure, I do not drive a green auto, but then there is nothing that my spouse wants to drive yet or that fits me. 

    On Green, I recycle everything, biweekly my recycle is two 128 gallon recycle cans. I only have 16 gallon garbage as everything else is composted and yard waste to the larger compost place here in Washington state. I grow a garden and am very sustainable with year round basic veggies such as carrots, variety of lettuce, beets, etc. in my green house.

    IMG_20180717_163206[1].jpg

    My house is level 2 green certified as when I bought this 1952 built split level, I gutted it, replaced windows, doors, and taking it down to the studs allowed me to update the electrical, run conduit for my network and insulate all walls including interior walls and flooring between the two levels so that I use minimal power and natural gas. Then rather than using basic standard 1/2" sheet rock, I used 1" sheet rock adding to the R value.

    My wife and I both believe if we do not take care of the planet for ourselves and our future generations, there will be no planet to live on. At the rate we are going, the future could end up being the following movie:

    https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0319262/

    The Day After Tomorrow (2004)

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    balthazar

    Posted (edited)

    Quote

    Green, Sure, I do not drive a green auto, but then there is nothing that my spouse wants to drive yet or that fits me.


    What- is the planet supposed to just SIMMER until she makes up her mind or you start to shrink from old age?? :P

    Edited by balthazar
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    24 minutes ago, balthazar said:


    What- is the planet supposed to just SIMMER until she makes up her mind or you start to shrink from old age?? :P

    Wife is interested in the i-Pace and we have a reservation at the Jag dealership to test drive one when they come in. Never know, while I respect that you do not like the style, the interior space is of a mid size SUV. It very well could be my first non-American auto if the wife likes it.

    Like @Drew Dowdell has stated, we have spouses that we also have to take into consideration. Happy wife, Happy life. She lets me have my expensive wine collection and home theater plus all the auto's I have bought have always been my choice. She is wanting something very green but nothing yet that interests her.

    I have committed to her that the next auto is her's to make. That plus I did loose a bet to her and owe her a auto of her choice. So the next one will be EV of her choice. I do know that if Cadillac made an Electric Escalade, we would own one today.

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    1 hour ago, Drew Dowdell said:

    There is no plug-in Malibu hybrid. I mentioned Fusion Energi by name. I would have thought you'd know the difference since you know so much about EVs and PHEVs?

    CNN moment, twisting everything

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    3 hours ago, ocnblu said:

    CNN moment, twisting everything

    Not much fault you weren't paying attention to what I said. I'm interested in a plug-in. I mentioned a number of them by name and acronym. You're the one trying to twist things. 

     

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